MATERIAL: Silver
TYPE: Manuscript
DIMENSIONS: 8 1/4 x 5/8in (21 x 1.5cm) dimensions of each strip
COMPONENTS: -Twenty-seven horizontal silver strips engraved in kaishu standard script. -Rudimentary hinges meant to link the strips together in imitation of traditionally bound scriptures written on strips of wood or bamboo; with modern plexi stand and fitted cloth box.
NOTES: Rare.

Provenance:
Sam Fogg, London

Sotheby's, London, November 13, 2002, lot 48

Exhibited:
Phoenix Art Museum December 2007 - January 2010

Published:
Manuscripts of the Silk Road Fendall and Kwiatkowski, (Fogg, 2005)

Along with the Zuo Zhuan and the Gongyong Zhuan, the Guliang Zhuan is one of three commentaries to explicate the somewhat terse 'Spring and Autumn Annals,' (Chunqiu Zhuan) the chronicle of the vicissitudes of the state of Lu, one of the feudal kingdoms that fought for supremacy after the central authority of the Eastern Zhou dynasty began to weaken between 722 and 421 BCE. The Eastern Jin commentator Fan Ning (339-401CE) in the Hou Han Shu appraised the Guliang as being 'elegant and clear, but too short.' (wan er qing, qi shi ye duan.)

The present lot is the entirety of the Min Gong or Duke Min chapter. Guliang comments upon such matters as the legitimacy of Min's succession through the circumstances behind his abandonment of the throne to Duke Xi the next year. Among other factors, Guliang attributes his inauspicious demise to an inability or refusal to maintain proper deference to both rites of mourning and celebration: a common Confucian trope, and perhaps the reason this excerpt was chosen to be recorded in its present form (as well as of course its brevity). The didactic nature of the subject matter was perhaps a stern reminder to the owner, who was, due to the expense involved in its construction, surely 'a person of imperial or the highest courtly rank. (Fendall and Kwiatkowski, 2005)'

In the Sotheby's sale, this piece was offered concurrently with a Prajnaparamita sutra dated to the equivalent of 868 CE, constructed and bound in a nearly identical style (see Sotheby's London, November 13th, 2002, lot 48). It is reasonable to assume the present lot is roughly contemporaneous to that one, and as such, other than several fragments found by Pelliot at Dunhuang, the current piece would thus predate the earliest extant copy of this text by over 600 years (Fendall and Kwiatkowski, 2005).
ITEM ID: 4238

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Group of Inscribed Silver Panels

DATE
Century: 9th (801-900)
Notes: 9th Century

A group of silver panels inscribed with the ‘Duke Min’ chapter from the Guliang commentary o the Chunqiu Zhuan Tang Dynasty on the ‘Spring and Autumn Annals.’